Monday, April 30, 2012

My hands tingled to strike him, as if I had been a man!

We have come to the end of The Woman in White. Before we mourn the end of this amazing readalong, let's go over how Wilkie ended this journey.

Where we last left off, Percy had immolated himself, because he is not so bright*. This is what happens when Sir Percival quits listening to Fosco. In a way this was great for our trio because now Percy wasn't going to be a problem. The downside is it's going to be difficult to prove Laura being a live and her death being a ruse without one of the ruse perpetrators. This just means Walter needs to get Fosco to admit to the truth. And given how dismissive he was of Marian's warnings about the Count, this should be fine.

Walter gets back to London and it turns out Fosco knew where they were living because Walter sucks at not being followed. Marian is a ninja and should have been the one doing the sneaking around. Fosco pays Marian a little visit. He goes on about how much he admires Marian and pretty much he hasn't done anything to them because of that. Marian is telling Walter about how much this upset her but Walter is all "yeah yeah blah blah blah but what'd he say about meeee?" Methinks someone's jealous.

We also learn for certain that Anne, our woman in white, and Laura are actually half sisters, which you kind of assumed given how much the 2 women look alike. It wasn't the most exciting revelation but it was better than finding out Percy was everyone's dad and then also Laura's husband. So thank you Wilkie for staying away from incest.

Laura and Walter get married and it is uneventful.

Then we get to the important part of the story! Walter must now face the final boss, Fosco, and restore Laura's honor! Also convince everyone Laura's really alive and it was Anne that died. Walter has a plan to take down Fosco.

See Fosco is Italian. And Walter's buddy and our favorite minor character Professor Pesca is Italian. And all Italians know each other (obviously) so Pesca will know all sorts of secrets about Fosco. Walter and Pesca follow Fosco to the opera. Pesca doesn't recognize Fosco but when Fosco looks in their direction he freaks out and leaves the opera early. Walter is convinced Fosco is terrified of Pesca, even though Pesca has no clue who the guy is. There is a man hanging out near them with a big scar on his face. Then he runs out after Fosco while Pesca and Walter got stuck in the crowd. Then he seems to show up a few more times and Walter thinks "well isn't that coincidental!"

But before the man with the scar can keep showing up everywhere, we learn about Pesca's past. He's part of a secret Brotherhood back in Italy and has been stationed in England for years. They don't really explain what the Brotherhood does BUT if you cross them, they will cut you. Into pieces. Turns out Fosco is also part of this Brotherhood and he has crossed the organization. Walter decides to use this information to force a confession out of Fosco before he flees.

He writes a letter to Pesca as sort of an insurance plan should anything happen to him and he confronts the Count. Fosco is evil but also sort of a badass so he asks Walter if he wants to know what he's thinking, reaches for a gun and says: "I am thinking...whether I shall add to the disorder in this room by scattering your brains around the fireplace." Because he's actually an '80s action movie villain, full of quips. But Walter's letter to Pesca saves his ass and Fosco writes his confession.

You don't learn too much new during Fosco's confession except that Mrs. Ruebelle apparently didn't make Marian worse. Actually Fosco did everything he could to make Marian better because he admires her so much. We do learn that Anne dying so quickly was not part of the plan, since she died before Laura even left Blackwater. Which sort of throws off the whole Laura is Anne ploy so is just what Walter needs to hear.   Fosco manages to escape England, but he can't escape the man with the scar.

Fosco's confession is just what is needed to prove to everyone who Laura really is. Walter and Laura move to Limmeridge and eventually inherit Limmeridge for their son. Oh and Marian moves with them so the 3 of them can keep hanging out forever. Like Laura wanted when she asked Marian to never marry. The end.

I want to say a big thank you to Alice for hosting this readalong. This is the first one I've been able to do and it was super fun. This was a story I was a little meh on** but it was so much fun to read and write about it with a group of people. Especially a group that understand the importance of gifs.

ALSO this book counts towards Ben's Smooth Criminals reading challenge so even more win!
**Before I actually read it! Based on preconceived notions that weren't based on anything at all. Once I actually read the story I realized how wonderful it is.

Title quote from page 372/location 8425

Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White. Amazon Books, 2006. Kindle edition. Originally published 1860